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Mobile ICT Learning Facilities
Pattern number within this pattern set:77
University of the Western Cape
In many countries, the lack of access to technology and Information and Communication Technology in particular, is an acute problem of both resources and location. Solutions must focus on making scarce resources cover as much ground as possible.
Placing fixed computer facilities in communities with government or donor funding limits the benefits to the particular communities in question.
One solution that has long been available in the sphere of basic literacy is the mobile library, whereby suitable motor vehicles carry libraries on wheels to those unable to otherwise access them. This makes good use of financial resources and allows a scarce and important asset to be brought to where it is most needed and reused continually.
The provision of similar traveling computer laboratories, the drivers of which are trained computer literacy educators, could play a similar role in bringing the ICT mountain to the disempowered. Self-contained units with their own power generation ability will grant ICT access to many people in remote locations or simply living in communities which are too poor to support such access in other ways. Encouraging community participation in the program will help to ensure that those in the community who could most benefit by the program will be helped first. The goals of such a program would be to:
- Bring scarce and economically empowering assets to communities desperately in need of them or otherwise simply lacking in access to these assets by virtue of their remote location
- Contribute to reducing the geographic and economic isolation of many communities
- Begin to bring the wider world to communities who wish to gain knowledge of it and interact with it.
- Contribute to the knowledge and skills of those joining the exodus from rural to urban areas in an attempt to provide survival strategies that move away from begging, menial labor and crime
In South Africa a similar initiative which focuses on bringing science and technology to disadvantaged communities is already in place. A bus called the Discovery Mobile travels to communities and gives young people the opportunity to interact with a wide range of exhibits inside the bus.
By working together with government, donors and communities, mobile computer laboratory facilities can be established to begin to answer the needs of many communities for exposure to and training in the use of information and communication technologies.
Verbiage for pattern card:
In many countries, the lack of access to Information and Communication Technology is an acute problem. Just as the mobile library brings books to those who lack access, traveling computer laboratories with computer literacy educators as drivers can play similar roles. In South Africa, the Discovery Mobile bus travels to communities and gives people the opportunity to interact with science and technology exhibits.
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